Donald Trump’s Mexico-bashing hurts American interests too

1/18/2017 Financial Times

mexico-usa-flag-montageLike many neighbours, the US and Mexico have a long and contentious history. In the 19th century, Mexico lost vast territories to the north. In the 20th century, Mexico nationalised US energy companies in the south. As recently as 1979, one Mexican president spoke of the countries’ “open hostility”. The North American Free Trade Agreement, signed a quarter of a century ago, helped heal many of these wounds.

Indeed, although Donald Trump has called it the “worst trade deal in history”, Nafta’s successes are now taken for granted. US companies are used to friendly treatment in Mexico. Soaring bilateral trade has turned Mexico into the US’s second-biggest export market, equal to the Chinese, Japanese, German and UK markets combined. Mexico and the US also work closely together on migration, drug and security issues — including in 2011 thwarting an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington. Yet Mr Trump’s Mexico-bashing, perhaps his most consistent policy platform, threatens to end this co-operation. Ironically, that would frustrate the president-elect’s desire to make America “great” by imperilling thousands of jobs and harming US interests.

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